Author Topic: 13Skills Skill #1 - Candle Making  (Read 2659 times)

Offline CoreyAwesome

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13Skills Skill #1 - Candle Making
« on: January 15, 2013, 03:43:15 PM »
For my first skill I chose candle making, and I was wondering if I can melt the way in a glass jar in a pot of water? Is there a temperature range I should be in to not burn the wax or just melt efficiently? I ordered beeswax and once it gets in I'm going to do a little more research on the wax, I find it easier to research something like this when I have it in my hands.

I ordered 2lbs w/ free shipping from eBeeHoney for $22.00 total.

I'm thinking about saving to get a roll of Honey Bee copper coins if they're still in the shop and using them as a wick anchor.

My candles are going to be organic bees wax and hemp wick, and I have asked my co-worker to help me find someone from his hometown(only like 30 minutes away) if who will sell me beeswax, hemp wick and honey.
I will be using various old candle jars and pasta sauce jars.

I'm going to use the first batch as belated Christmas gifts.


I appreciate any help and hope we can all come up with creative ideas to make spread our skills to those around us!

-Corey

Offline mitten

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Re: 13Skills Skill #1 - Candle Making
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2013, 08:45:23 PM »
With the limited work I have done melting wax (making wax hardened leather), boiling it in a jar that is in a pot of water should work. As for the ideal temperature range, it doesn't matter much from my (limited) experience. Just boil the water and keep stirring the wax in the jar. Good luck.

Offline archer

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Re: 13Skills Skill #1 - Candle Making
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2013, 11:18:30 PM »
just be careful of melted wax, it is quite flammable and i found it can get very hot and spit when water is dropped into it by mistake.

Offline CoreyAwesome

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Re: 13Skills Skill #1 - Candle Making
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2013, 03:14:45 PM »
With the limited work I have done melting wax (making wax hardened leather), boiling it in a jar that is in a pot of water should work. As for the ideal temperature range, it doesn't matter much from my (limited) experience. Just boil the water and keep stirring the wax in the jar. Good luck.

I read somewhere that for beeswax you want 140-185*F but not over 185*F.

The way I'm doing it now is putting the jar in water at the height I want the wax to be, turn the stove top to 4 (I'm using a small burner on an electric stove), then add in wax a little at a time to build a pool of hot wax. I'm using a hemp wick that I've had to twist together.

I'm still in the testing phase, breaking down this wax into usable pieces with only the tools on hand isn't the easiest. I definitely recommend 1oz bars for small projects.

Offline Brian

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Re: 13Skills Skill #1 - Candle Making
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2013, 08:28:59 AM »
When we do our beeswax votives this is the best approach I've found.  We run about 80 votives at a time, so this can obviously be scaled back to suite your needs.  This process would apply to using metal molds of 2 1/2 inches in diameter or less.  Bigger than that will often require more than one wick.  Do this outside on a warm day (unless you're a beekeeper) or in a warm room you can afford to spill wax in.  That will happen eventually. ;D 
This process calls for letting the wicks stand on their own, but taller molds will need to have the wick tied to a stick across the top of the mold so it doesn't collapse under it's own weight.  Molds that require this set up often have a wick hole at the bottom that you will need to put the wick through and seal with putty.

Equipment:

-Candle mold.  Duh.  About 1 and 1/2 inches in diameter works really well with this technique.

-Two double boilers consisting of a seamless aluminum wax pitcher in a presto fryer.  The pitcher will sit on the basket which keeps it off the element.  The deep fryer is filled to just above the wax with water and the thermostat keeps it so you don't have to constantly mess with the water temp.  This is much safer than using open flame, and properly adjusted,  no part of this double boiler set up should ever reach the flashpoint of the wax. 

-Candy thermometers to verify the wax temperature and adjust thermostats

-small craft type heat gun

-1/0 square braid cotton wicking (normal candle wicking will not draw enough beeswax) I don't have any experience with hemp wicking, so your mileage may vary.  If the wick burns down and goes out, it's not pulling enough wax.

-metal wick tabs / anchors  (really cool idea on using the coins!)

-cooking oil spray

-beeswax (freezing it first will make it much easier to break into usable chunks)

1.  Melt both pitchers of wax in the double boilers.  One of them should be around 150 - 160 and the other should be at the top of the temperature range around 180.  The hotter pitcher only needs about 1/4 of the volume of the cooler pitcher.  Keep the candy thermometers in the wax during this process to fine tune the thermostats.

2.  Prepare the wicks by cutting to size.   Dip the wicks in the melted wax a couple times to saturate them.  Lay them out straight and let them cool.  This will help keep the wick standing when you put it in the mold with the hot wax.  Attach the wick tab to one end of the wick. (depending on the type of tab you're using, you may want to attach them before dipping the wick.)

3.  Lightly spray the mold with cooking spray, candle release product, or silicone.  This will make it much easier to get it out of the mold.

4. Pour the cooler wax into the mold.  Stop short a quarter inch or so from the top of the mold.  When you see the top of the wax just start to lighten as it cools, plop the wick in and center the wick tab on the bottom.  By now there is a partially solidified layer of wax around the inside of the mold that the tab will stick to on the bottom.  The top should be starting to thicken at this point which will help keep the wick upright.

5.  Let the candle cool SLOWLY.  It's important to keep the wax at a uniform temperature throughout the cooling process.  Beeswax contracts a lot as it cools, so cooling it too quickly will cause the candle to separate into layers and crack. 

6.  When the top of the candle is the consistency of warm chapstick, you'll notice that it has shrunk and caved in around the middle.  Take the heatgun and remelt the top layer until it's basically flat again.

7.  Now top off the mold with the hotter wax.  This will minimize re-shrinkage and the hot wax leaves less of a visible seam along the outside of the candle.

8. Let the whole thing cool slowly

Once cooled completely for several hours, the candle can be put in the freezer to help release from the mold.

Hope that helps, and good luck with your candle making!!  Let us know how it goes!

-Brian

Offline archer

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Re: 13Skills Skill #1 - Candle Making
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2013, 10:33:49 AM »
thanks for the good post!

Offline Perfesser

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Re: 13Skills Skill #1 - Candle Making
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2013, 06:28:52 PM »
Is this hemp wick already treated or just hemp string?
http://www.redtedart.com/2012/02/03/how-to-make-a-candle-wick/

Offline CoreyAwesome

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Re: 13Skills Skill #1 - Candle Making
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2013, 09:32:13 PM »
Is this hemp wick already treated or just hemp string?
http://www.redtedart.com/2012/02/03/how-to-make-a-candle-wick/

What I'm using currently is hemp wick, it's coated in beeswax and primarily used as a light for smoking pipes and the like so you inhale less butane or something.